Grilled Pork Double Loin Medallions with Watermelon/Passion Fruit Sauce

Jeremiah Tower Cooks by Jeremiah Tower / July 2003

For 4 servings (requires advance preparation)

Brine:
• 1 gal. water
• 1 lb. kosher salt
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 head fresh garlic, halved horizontally
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme
• 8 bay leaves, torn
• 4 dried red chiles, chopped
• 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
• 1 Tbsp. allspice berries
• 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
• 3 lbs. center cut pork loin, bone in

Combine all ingredients except pork in nonreactive container; immerse pork in the brine; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 12 hours.

Jasmine/cardamom/chile oil:
• 1/4 cup jasmine flowers
• 4 green cardamom pods, crushed and toasted
• 1 sm. serrano chile, seeded
• 1 cup almond oil

Place jasmine flowers, cardamom, and serrano chile in glass container; reserve. Heat oil in small nonreactive pot to 100°F; pour over aromatics; cover; let infuse overnight.

Passion fruit sauce:
• 6 ripe passion fruits
• 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
• 1/2 tsp. light sesame oil
• salt
• white pepper, freshly ground

Split passion fruit; scoop out pulp and seeds; pass through fine chinois; reserve strained juice in nonreactive bowl; reserve pulp and seeds in another nonreactive bowl. Add mint and sesame oil to the juice; season; reserve.

Watermelon sauce:
• 1 cup fresh watermelon juice
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• salt
• white pepper, freshly ground

Mix juice and oil in nonreactive bowl; season; reserve.

Assembly:
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 1/2 cup basil, chopped and mixed with 2 Tbsps. olive oil

  1. Heat oven 375°F.

  2. Remove pork from brine; pat dry with paper towels.

  3. Heat a skillet set over high heat; season pork; sear until brown on all sides; remove from heat; place pork roasting pan; roast 30 minutes; remove from oven; cover loosely with foil; let rest 20 minutes.

  4. Remove loin from bone; discard bone; cut loin into 4 medallions.

  5. Rub pork medallions with basil oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator 2 hours.

  6. Heat a grill; grill pork medallions 5 minutes on each side; remove from grill; reserve.

  7. To serve, place 1 pork medallion on each dinner plate; spoon watermelon sauce around; top pork medallion with passion fruit seeds and pulp; drizzle passion fruit sauce around; drizzle jasmine/cardamom/chile oil over each pork medallion.

Scale-up: can be scaled up in direct proportion.
Chef's Note: Serve with mashed ube, a lavender/purple fleshed tuber from the Phillippines, mashed sweet potatoes, or cumin flavored mashed potatoes flecked with chopped Indian lime pickle. Alternatively, the pork can also be accompanied by prunes soaked in Armagnac or apple brandy, then heated 5 minutes with chopped scallions, lemon zest, and cream; by whole hominy heated with sage, ancho chile puree, and roasted mild green chiles, with a watercress/pecan salad garnish; or by fried green tomatoes and a sweet corn timbale.